On my last morning in Yamagata last November, Hiroko took me to several kitchen showrooms. We wanted to have a look at all the latest storage ideas, kitchen layouts etc. to see if I could come up with some inspiration for our new kitchen in Scotland. We had fun with Hiroko doing all the 'catalogue poses' for my photos, and of course we had to play with the plastic food!
I was very interested in the internal storage ideas behind all those sleek drawer fronts. One of my favourites was the various ways the sink fascia panels pulled out or hinged forwards to reveal extra storage for small items - a space that is usually forgotten about in British kitchens. I liked the way the showroom kitchen drawers and cupboards were full, just like in a real kitchen. It helped you visualise the kitchen in use, unlike the usually empty drawers in our kitchen showrooms.
This one was probably the ultimate set up like that -
I had forgotten that Japanese sinks are usually so roomy. After seeing the sinks on display, I changed my mind about having a bowl and a half sink, and bought an 80cm wide sink for our kitchen.
This pull down dish drainer shelf was a great idea. Unfortunately, it wouldn't work in most British kitchens, because we tend to have the sink below the window.
There were pull down shelves, great for those of us who are vertically challenged. There were even motorised top cabinet systems. Ideas like this mean the cabinets can go right up to the ceiling, without the gap we usually have at the top. The movement of these shelves is very smooth, and they are counterbalanced so it is easy to push them back up.
Shelves that slid out were also fitted in a lot of the kitchens, and wire drawer systems. I would like to try this in the one cupboard we will have (the rest will be drawers).
I liked the sliding doors and the clever way the tall corner cabinet doors slid right back into the sides.
I don't think I will be including this idea - I really need all the space I can get under the sink for storage.
This was very neat, if you have an open end on a run of units (I won't have one).
Integrated dishwashers are usually in a deep drawer beside the sink, much smaller than regular dishwashers over here. I don't have space for a dishwasher, even a small one.
I brought home a lot of kitchen brochures but unfortunately the cabinet sizes are different from ours - 90cm rather than 80cm width, so some of the clever inserts wouldn't fit even if I could buy them separately. I would like to adapt the Ikea Faktum kitchen cabinets we bought with ideas like the sink fascia storage. Ikea discontinued their Faktum kitchen this month, so we had to get all the cabinets to match the kitchen doors we bought in the summer - the solid oak framed Tidaholm doors were discontinued in July! I had a look at the new Ikea units earlier. They include a lot of drawer cabinets, which would make great studio or workshop storage, but also some interior fittings that might work with the Faktum cabinets. I got a lot of inspiration in Yamagata, not only of the sashiko kind!